A Port Jefferson man has pleaded guilty to murder and other related charges after hiding in Florida for three years following a shooting in 2018.
On July 22, 2018, Alejandro Vargas-Diaz, 41, and Albert Luis Rodriguez-Lopez, 27, of Selden, got into an argument inside a pool hall in Port Jefferson. During the argument, Rodriguez-Lopez punched Vargas-Diaz in the face, knocking him to the ground. A short time later, Vargas-Diaz ambushed Rodriguez-Lopez inside the pool hall, and shot him in the back, neck, and shoulder. Rodriguez-Lopez died at the scene, and Vagras-Diaz immediately fled and subsequently left New York State.
One month after the shooting, members of the Suffolk County Police Department found the murder
weapon, a 9-millimeter pistol, hidden in a tree at the Setauket Port Jefferson Greenway Trail.
Nearly three years after the shooting on June 18, 2021, Vargas-Diaz was arrested by members
of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in Florida following a tip to Crime Stoppers. Vargas-Diaz was extradited back to Suffolk County on November 11, 2021 to be arraigned.
On July 24, 2023, Vargas-Diaz pleaded guilty before Acting Supreme Court Justice Steven A. Pilewski on the charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He is due back in court on September 13, 2023 for sentencing. If convicted, he will spend 23 years in prison.
“For five years, the relatives and loved ones of Mr. Rodriguez-Lopez have waited for justice for
this senseless murder. Today, with his admission of guilt, justice has been served,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. “While the defendant may have prolonged his freedom by hiding out in another state, it was only a matter of time before the law caught up with him and now, he is being held to account for his actions.”